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NorthEast United FC's 2017 ISL Draft details: Lalrindika Ralte, Halicharan Narzary, Nirmal Chettri among signed logo 23-07-2017
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NorthEast United FC stuck to their policy of promoting local youth talents as the Highlanders roped in as many as nine north-east India born players in the 2017 Indian Super League (ISL) domestic player draft on Sunday. The standout inclusion will have to be that of the versatile Lalrindika Ralte, who is extremely accurate and visionary in midfield, brought in for INR 50 Lakhs, making him their third highest earning player behind the already retained Rehenesh TP and Rowllin Borges. ALSO READ | COMPLETE LIST OF PLAYERS SIGNED BY ISL CLUBS It was Kokrajhar-born Halicharan Narzary who returned back to his hometown club in not time as the John Abraham owned side were quick to recall him back at the first time of asking. Even the likes of Nirmal Chettri, Reagan Singh and Lalrempuia Fanai made a comeback to the Guwahati-based outfit. Striker Seiminlen Doungel too returned, costing INR 37.5 Lakhs for a second stint, earlier plying his trade at the club during the inaugural season.

Robert Lalthlamuana, Malengamba Meitei and Sushil Meitei were the other north-eastern players, the latter two arriving from 2nd Division I-League champions NEROCA FC, with whom NorthEast United formed a 5-year strategic alliance earlier this week. Ravi Kumar and Gurpreet Singh were chosen as back-ups to numero uno Rehenesh TP. However, the Whites from Guwahati will have to part ways with a sum of INR 15 Lakhs as transfer fees towards Minerva Punjab FC for Ravi Kumar. JOAO DE DEUS APPOINTED HEAD COACH OF NEUFC Bengaluru FC's Gursimrat Singh Gill and Kerala-born Abdul Hakku were also fancied by the Highlanders. Spending the least amount of money in Sunday's draft, NorthEast United total salary expenses do not exceed INR 3 Crores (excluding transfer fees and retained players' salaries). Along with FC Pune City, NorthEast United remain the only two clubs never to have reached the play-offs of the ISL in it's three seasons of existence. With new head coach Joao De Deus on board, the club aims to emulate great success with the already-acquired bunch of domestic players with the help of strong foreign acquisitions.

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